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The discovery of a threatening racial slur in a porta-potty led to the shutdown of construction at a Facebook data center in Utah earlier this month.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation, including reviewing surveillance video, into what authorities reportedly consider an inside job.
In the meantime, Mortenson Construction has offered a $50,000 reward for information about the individual or individuals responsible for the racist graffiti. It also temporarily sent home its 1,000-plus workforce as a precaution.
Cops have reportedly yet to identify any suspects.
According to Fox 13 Salt Lake City, “Photos showed the statement “Kill a ****** day 11/29” written on the bathroom door.”
In a statement reported by CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV, the construction company said, in part, “We are investigating bias-motivated graffiti found today on the Eagle Mountain project site. We strongly condemn any form of racism or bigotry, and we have a clear, zero-tolerance anti-harassment, anti-discrimination policy. Mortenson takes this matter very seriously and we reported it to local authorities…”
***Correction*** The construction project on the Facebook data center in @eaglemtncity is ongoing and is still under the control of Mortensen Construction. They discovered the racial slur and reported it and posted the $50,000 reward for information identifying a suspect. https://t.co/2iUXTVth88
— Spencer Cannon (@SGTCannonPIO) November 9, 2021
“Meta, formerly Facebook, has zero tolerance for any racist acts,” a spokesperson for the social media platform similarly asserted. “While this is a challenge facing the entire industry, we’re working with our general contractors to implement measures that will help prevent them at any of our construction sites.”
“Police added that the threat was not directed at a particular person and that there is no credible evidence that someone will follow through with the threat…Officials said the construction area is a secure site so it’s likely that the graffiti may have come from someone inside the area,” KUTV noted.
Obviously, this incident merits a thorough law enforcement investigation, particularly given the violent rhetoric involved. Various similar and not-so-similar occurrences, however, around the country have turned out to be hoaxes.
“We believe that it’s probably unlikely that somebody intends to carry out a threat or follow through on a statement like that. But we have to consider the possibility that somebody might intend to do that,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon explained.
Facebook already runs a data center from Eagle Mountain, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, but it is expanding operations there with a 900,000 square foot facility.
It remains to be seen how the investigation will eventually go, but Twitter seems to be registering skepticism:
That is more money than they offer for a missing person or murder suspect.
— Raider760 (@JamesMa14689994) November 15, 2021
That’s probably the least offensive thing I’ve read on a Porta potty wall.
— Fredrick Von Baron (@baron_fredrick) November 16, 2021
Was Jussie Smollet in the area?
— Carlos Licea (@carloslicea1) November 15, 2021
Pitta potty’s are rented and reused so how do they know it wasn’t there upon delivery?
— Sea Vee (@seavee72) November 16, 2021
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in a port-a-john on a construction site that hasn’t had a racial slur about whites , blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. And there’s definitely always a penis or vagina drawn on the wall.
— James Middleton (@jamesmiddle202) November 15, 2021
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